Guideline No. 442: Fetal Growth Restriction: Screening, Diagnosis, and Management in Singleton Pregnancies

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2023 Oct;45(10):102154. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2023.05.022.


Objective: Fetal growth restriction is a common obstetrical complication that affects up to 10% of pregnancies in the general population and is most commonly due to underlying placental diseases. The purpose of this guideline is to provide summary statements and recommendations to support a clinical framework for effective screening, diagnosis, and management of pregnancies that are either at risk of or affected by fetal growth restriction.

Target population: All pregnant patients with a singleton pregnancy.

Benefits, harms, and costs: Implementation of the recommendations in this guideline should increase clinician competency to detect fetal growth restriction and provide appropriate interventions.

Evidence: Published literature in English was retrieved through searches of PubMed or MEDLINE, CINAHL, and The Cochrane Library through to September 2022 using appropriate controlled vocabulary via MeSH terms (fetal growth retardation and small for gestational age) and key words (fetal growth, restriction, growth retardation, IUGR, FGR, low birth weight, small for gestational age, Doppler, placenta, pathology). Results were restricted to systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials/controlled clinical trials, and observational studies. Grey literature was identified through searching the websites of health technology assessment and health technology-related agencies, clinical practice guideline collections, clinical trial registries, and national and international medical specialty societies.

Validation methods: The authors rated the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. See online Appendix A (Table A1 for definitions and Table A2 for interpretations of strong and conditional [weak] recommendations).

Intended audience: Obstetricians, family physicians, nurses, midwives, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, radiologists, and other health care providers who care for pregnant patients.

Tweetable abstract: Updated guidelines on screening, diagnosis, and management of pregnancies at risk of or affected by FGR.

Summary statements: RECOMMENDATIONS: Prediction of FGR Prevention of FGR Detection of FGR Investigations in Pregnancies with Suspected Fetal Growth Restriction Management of Early-Onset Fetal Growth Restriction Management of Late-Onset FGR Postpartum management and preconception counselling.

Keywords: Doppler ultrasonography; biomarkers; fetal growth retardation; infant, small for gestational age; placenta; placenta growth factor.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Appendix*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnosis
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Medicine*
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy